Butler standards Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, February 2021, Special Notice, SABA

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As the two cases continue against the South African Butler Academy, many reports are starting to surface on social media from those who feel aggrieved by the training they have received, thus allowing potential students to find something other than the streams of self-aggrandizing promotion that SABA puts out about itself or reportedly compels students to post. Many letters came in to the editor this month about SABA, and one ex-student sent a copy of a letter (quoted in part at the bottom) she wrote to Mr. Cross that gives some idea of the unprofessional level of training being offered by SABA, which, by the way, consists of just 2 staff, not the 501-1000 claimed on their LinkedIn page, with multiple qualifications and endorsements claimed being figments of their imagination (i.e. being an alumni of the University of Cape Town and the Royal Butler/Valet School at Buckingham Place—there being no such school). They have actually made dozens of false claims, too numerous to list here, in order to fool potential students into paying for their services.

As one might expect from someone who knows how simple it is to create a perception and manipulate it in social media, SABA’s response to the true nature of its operations being made known has not been to correct its ways and seek to make up the damage done to its countless alumni and ex-students, but to change its name in the hope of avoiding potential clients connecting them with their registered name. Already, they have come up with four new names for their organization: SABA International Butler Academy, SABA International Butler Academy & Training School, Butler Academy Saba, and International Butler Jobs & Training. Whatever actions they take to avoid facing up to their excesses and their continued betrayal of the trust of their students, will be noted and shared.

Which brings us to some good that is coming out of this sad SABA saga—butler training schools around the world have finally been prompted by SABA’s excesses to join forces in an Association of butler schools, with the aim to set standards for effective training and ethical business practices so that our exclusive profession can never again be blindsided by those whose purposes are self-aggrandizement and -enrichment rather than sharing knowledge that empowers graduates and serves clients well. Other professions have long had associations to maintain standards, but while butlers are one of the oldest professions, butler training schools have existed for less than 40 years and can thus be forgiven for not organizing earlier. Stay tuned for more announcements.

SABA-court and related links: YouTube which is now running at over 30,000 views.

More information at this link and at link about an earlier case SABA lost.

If you would like to share information about the defendants, please contact the chief litigant, Ms. Lin Yang: ylin63 @

One ex-SABA student writes to Mr. Newton Cross:

“This needs to be said for myself and for whomever else this may have happened to. You taught us in the time we spent with you about dignity, respect and most importantly mindfulness…. Mr. West constantly put me in situations no person learning or otherwise should have to endure, as he was constantly intoxicated, showing up for classes reeking of alcohol through his pores. When I shared a villa with him, he was constantly drunk, walking around in his underwear, and drank the entire stock of alcohol for the cocktail lessons we were to have. The last straw was him being taking to the infirmary as the staff thought he was sick that morning, but he was in fact hungover! Furthermore, driving around the city on a day off to look for boys and men for Mr. West was a trip I just want to forget ever happened.

The entire process of becoming a butler and paying all that money was belittled by the personal information that was disclosed, including about your personal life, Mr. Cross: I will not go into detail but these things were none of my business. I started to record all these ramblings with the intention of letting you know that when Mr. West travels perhaps he should not drink. However after you were so nasty to me I had a change of heart. 

How should I have behaved when everything you taught us was obviously not being displayed. All this put an awfully bad taste in my mouth, I never did use my certification, or the CV you so diligently informed me not to use. That is why I left so abruptly, because I had 10 days of hell and I wasn’t even being paid for it. You need to treat people better.”

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.